Cowgirls Escape Upset Bid By 12th Seed

Oklahoma State played below its norm, and the numbers from the first-round game against upstart Florida Gulf Coast were the recipe for that dreaded 12 seed vs. 5 seed upset seen so often in the men's NCAA Tournament. Playing on fourth seed Purdue's home floor in West Lafayette, Ind., the Cowgirls shot just 37 percent from the field and only 54 percent from the free throw line.

They only outrebounded the smaller Eagles from Fort Myers, Fla., 48 to 42 and lost the turnover battle by five. Still, a driving lay up with some 40 seconds left in overtime by standout senior Tiffany Bias was the difference as the Cowgirls survived 61-60 to play the winner of Purdue and Akron in a second-round NCAA Tournament game on Monday.

The overtime, like the game itself, didn't feature a lot of scoring as neither team was particularly sharp on the offensive end. The game was not real physical as evidenced by neither team reaching the bonus in the second half and had fouls to give even in the overtime.

LaShawn Jones of the Cowgirls scored first in the overtime with a bank shot in close for a 59-57 lead. A couple of possessions later Jenna Cobb, who led Florida Gulf Coast with 16 points in the game, hit a 3-pointer from the baseline next to the Eagles bench and a 60-59 advantage for the Atlantic Sun champion.

Whitney Knight with a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards and veteran senior Sarah Hansen with 7 points and 8 rebounds led Florida Gulf Coast.

The only scoring in the game after that was the Bias shot that won it. Now both teams had chances with Elizabeth Donohoe missing a free throw opportunity and Brittany Martin doing the same after she picked off an inbounds pass with 1.8 seconds left. Martin actually intercepted the last two opportunities for the Eagles, the last one with .7 seconds of a desperation inbounds pass.

The Cowgirls got it to overtime with a late 7-0 run after trailing 55-49 with just over three minutes left. Roshunda Johnson knocked down a three from the wing to cut the Florida Gulf Coast lead to 55-52. Then a little over a minute and a couple of trips both directions later, Johnson took a drive to the left side of the basket and hit the drive off the glass to bring the Cowgirls within one at 55-54.

The lead changer came on a Johnson assist as she got the loose ball and through a very nice long pass to LaShawn Jones who took the ball in for the lay up and a 56-55 Oklahoma State advantage.

Bias, who had just three points at the time, got a steal and was fouled trying to drive in and made one of two free throws for a two-point lead under a minute.

The only score after the Bias free throw was a drive by the Eagles Kaniesha Atwater for the tie. Both teams had a shot at the end of regulation but the play was a little sloppy and the game went to overtime.

The Cowgirls jumped out to an early lead in the game and led at one point by 11 points at 20-9. However, the 3-pointers went cold and Oklahoma State quit trying to get the ball inside. On defense, Oklahoma State went with a zone at times that gave the 3-point hungry Eagles some desired looks and they hit seven 3-pointers, one more than the Cowgirls in the game. However, Florida Gulf Coast attempted seven more attempts from three.

None of that matters now as the 24-8 Cowgirls move on and look to string back-to-back wins together for the first time since winning at Kansas 64-56 to conclude a five-game win streak. Since then the Cowgirls have lost one, won one, lost one and won one through a total of 14 games.

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